All sorts of artisans create beautiful, appealing alternatives to mass-produced consumer goods and entertainment. Communities can become more vibrant and resilient when handmade goods and services are created locally.
This photo essay depicts six different craft makers based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Their works are examples of how locally made goods and services can contribute to dynamic and diverse communities.
- Potter Sandy Simon creates earthenware using a potter's wheel, a technology that was first developed in Mesopotamian times.
- Pomo basket weaver Edward Willie gathers and dries plants from a local forest for his striking baskets.
- La Tania, a flamenco dancer originally from Mallorca, Spain, demonstrates this traditional dance form that uses rhythmic movements and expressive improvisation to convey meaning.
- Decorative ironworker Carla Hall practices a craft that arose in the 16th century—making decorative utensils, architectural features, and art from molten iron.
- Matt Kreutz, an artisan baker, makes his bread using an old-fashioned wood-fired oven.
- Kazuaki Tanahashi, a Japanese calligrapher, follows an ancient art that gives the calligrapher just one chance to draw kanji characters, requiring intense concentration and skill to create beautiful forms.
Two recent social movements involve using low technology or traditional skills to produce objects or experiences. The maker movement is a trend toward individuals creating self-made—and often unique and customizable—products. Compared to mass production, these products are less resource-intensive to create and distribute, and require no middlemen. The reskilling movement is fueled by a desire to learn basic skills that were once commonplace but that are becoming lost. Skills such as gardening, repairing things, and making do with less help both people and their communities be more resilient and self-sufficient.
Connections to National Standards
Common Core English Language Arts. SL.9-10.1 and SL.11-12.1. Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and instructor-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 [or 11-12] topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies. D2.Eco.2.9-12. Use marginal benefits and marginal costs to construct an argument for or against an approach or solution to an economic issue.
Next Generation Science Standards. HS-LS2-7. Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.